It's been nearly two years since Asus first announced its ROG Strix XG43UQ, a 43-inch display with a 4K resolution, fast 144Hz refresh rate, and HDMI 2.1 connectivity (opens in new tab). The spec sheet checks a bunch of desirable boxes, and we'll finally get to see how it actually performs when it begins shipping next month.
In no uncertain terms, Asus says the XG43UQ will finally be available in May (via TechPowerUp (opens in new tab)). Barring a last minute delay, the XG43UQ figures to be the first HDMI 2.1 display to actually ship out to customers, beating Eve (Spectrum (opens in new tab)) and Gigabyte (Aorus FV43U (opens in new tab)) to the punch.
What's the big deal with HDMI 2.1, anyway? Well, one of the upgrades over HDMI 2.0 is a massive increase in bandwidth to 48Gbps, up from 18Gbps, or up to 128Gbps with compression. The added bandwidth is capable of supporting up to a 10K resolution at 120Hz, with compression.
We're a long way from 10K gaming being anything close to the norm, though more tantalizing is support for 4K HDR content at up to 120Hz, with full 4:4:4 color. That means no need to implement chroma subsampling (opens in new tab), which can degrade the image quality.
It also means console gamers, on the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X, can get in on the gaming monitor fun rather than having to rely on TVs. With HDMI 2.1 support the latest consoles can deliver 4K at 120Hz in supported games, something they can't do with standard HDMI 2.0 panels.
It's not just about higher resolutions and refresh rates, though. HDMI 2.1 supports a handful of nifty features, like dynamic HDR, which adjusts the image on a scene-by-scene or frame-by-frame basis.
For gaming, HDMI 2.1 implements a few goodies, including an auto low latency mode that can switch a display's Game mode on and off by itself, variable refresh rate support, and a feature called Quick Frame Transport (opens in new tab) that is aimed at reducing display latency.
The latest graphics cards from AMD (Radeon RX 6000 series) and Nvidia (GeForce RTX 30 series) as well as the Xbox Series X/S and PlayStation 5 all support HDMI 2.1. You do also need an HDMI 2.1 cable, to take advantage of the specification.
Outside of HDMI 2.1, the XG43UQ is a FreeSync Premium Pro monitor that is DisplayHDR 1000 certified, with a eye-searing peak brightness of 1,000 nits to do HDR content justice. It also boasts a 1ms response time (MPRT) and a high color gamut (90 percent and 125 percent coverage of the DCI-P3 and sRGB color spaces, respectively).
It looks like the 43-inch Asus will be the first HDMI 2.1 monitor to actually ship, with delays reportedly blighting manufacturers in their hopes to get them out around the console launch in 2020. The Eve Spectrum, the crowd-specced gaming monitor, was hoping to be the first, but it's not set to arrive until late May/early June. Though it has recently published video of the Spectrum actually running via HDMI 2.1 (opens in new tab).
While this lovely looking Asus monitor will ship next month, the company has not said how much it will cost. We already have an idea, though—it's been available to preorder at OverclockersUK (opens in new tab) for £1,349 since March. That works out to around $1,873 in US currency, and while pricing is likely to vary by region, it's not going to be cheap.
It will be the first HDMI 2.1 to actually ship, though.